A couple of months ago I was down and I was out.
It was post-Startup Institute & I had motivation to put my solopreuner hat back on, but mamabear was upset about my student loans so I traded entrepreneurship to work at a really cool agency for a really trendy client. My conversations with recruitment & first three interviews on the job were stellar. Sounded like a dream job, but from the first day I realized that the role they told me about and the one they had me in were different. By the end of the second day I brought this to the highest person in the food-chain and when she told me to look up the role title in the dictionary, I knew I wouldn’t be staying long.
As I began to look at alternatives, I called a friend in to meet me for lunch and said to him
I think I’m about done here. If this is it I want to get M/IG off the ground. I want to be my own boss again. To do that I’ll need you to keep me accountable and make sure I don’t cop out.
He’s a life coach, people pay him for that. And the context I met him in was one in where he was supposed to be helping me get to the next level–I was the student and he was to be the mentor.
After I split paths with the agency, I set out on my own. I didn’t hear from him for three months.
Uncertain and unsure, those were the days I needed an accountability partner most. After I’d signed a client and was bringing in recurring revenue that he made an appearance on set. I reached out to him to see what’s up– we met, I paid for lunch, and again back into the air he went–reappearing again within my internal network, resurfacing to try his shot at an opportunity that would give him for visibility and some more clients. What a downer. The life coach was in fact phishing for ways to get his name out there..not to add value to folks lives.
I’ve only heard one other person speak openly about failed mentors or coaches that didn’t quite impress as much as they were put there to–Rameet Chawla, CEO of Fueled. I’m impressed with Rameet because he seems to have that critical nature from the get go and recognizes these things ahead of having to live them.
Folks that talk about helping people should start with the people closest to them.
There’s a fitting Chinese proverb my college friend Steven Wu shared with me:
If you cannot clean your own room, how can you look after a nation?
So it turns out my old pal is just fishing for opportunities to raise his platform. As I take note of the room and ongoing conversations he operates within, I note that being a good looking White Male is a huge support in a city and community built on whiteness. Both White Men and Women seem to receive and support this characteristic more than the merits from which should support it. Alas, I’ll stop here. This post is not about privilege. It’s about those people who are always talking and not delivering. More dealings with that type of person makes me hyper critical of myself. I’m consciously trying to weed those folks out of my network.
How about you? Has there been someone you leaned on that failed you? What do you think about those folk that talk a big game? Do they come through…or maybe it’s the folks who say the least that achieve the most. What are your thoughts?